Ginkgo may alter the metabolism and effectiveness of some prescription and non-prescription medications. If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use ginkgo without first talking to your health care provider:
High doses of ginkgo could decrease the effectiveness of anticonvulsant therapy, such
as carbamazepine (Tegretol) or valproic acid (Depakote), in controlling seizures.
Taking ginkgo along with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) antidepressants
including fluoxetin (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and escitalopram
(Lexapro) -- may cause serotonin syndrome.
This condition is characterized by rigidity, tachycardia (fast heart rate), hyperthermia
(high body temperature), restlessness, and diaphoresis (sweating). Ginkgo may enhance the
effects (both good and bad) of antidepressant medications known as MAOIs, such as
Ginkgo may decrease blood pressure, so use of ginkgo along with prescription
antihypertensive medications should be monitored by a health care provider. There has
been a report of an interaction between ginkgo and nifedipine (Procardia), a calcium
channel blocking drug used for blood pressure and arrhythmias.
Ginkgo has blood-thinning properties and therefore should not be used if you are taking
anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix),
dipyridamole (Persantine), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), or warfarin (Coumadin). There
has been bleeding in the brain reported when using a ginkgo product and ibuprofen (Advil),
a non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID).
Blood Sugar Lowering Medications
Ginkgo was reported to increase insulin levels in healthy subjects and to decrease
insulin levels in diabetic patients. Use ginkgo supplements under the supervision of a
health care provider if you are diabetic and taking insulin or oral blood sugar lowering
Ginkgo biloba may help protect the cells of the body during treatment with the
immunosuppressive (decreases immunity) drug cyclosporine.
Although there has been one literature report of increased blood pressure associated with
the use of ginkgo during treatment with thiazide diuretics, this interaction has not been
verified by clinical trials. Nevertheless, you should consult with your health care
provider before using ginkgo if you are taking thiazide diuretics.
There has been a report of an adverse interaction between ginkgo and trazodone (Desyrel),
an antidepressant medication that resulted in an elderly patient going into a coma.